What do the scholars and experts of Shari’ah say regarding celebrating the Mawlid of the Messenger of Allah, is it a Bid’ah (innovation)?
With modern culture rapidly changing, it can be difficult to find specific answers within the Quran and Hadith regarding what is haram and halal. This is where the British Fatwa Council scholars come in.
Using Quran and Hadith they answer all questions that are in the grey area of a regular Muslim’s knowledge.
Some critics of Milad consider it to be a Bid’ah Dalalah, a misguided innovation. Let us briefly examine this allegation. Bid’ah is an innovation in religion; something new appended to the religion.
As such it can be good or bad, condoned or condemned, praiseworthy or blameworthy. Imam Bukhari narrates that Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) gathered people for Tarawih prayers and said this is a good innovation.
Whilst commenting on this hadith Hafiz Ibn Hajar says: “Bid’ah is something which has no precedent and if its application contravenes a sunnah it is a condemnable Bid’ah. If it conforms to Shariah then it is a good Bid’ah otherwise it is permissible.”
This is also the view of Imam Shafi who divides Bid’ah into Bid’ah Mahmooda (good) and Bid’ah Mazmooma (bad).
Similarly, Imam Baihaqi said in his book ‘Munaqib’, “Bid’ah is of two kinds, one that contravenes the Quran and hadith and is also against the consensus, that is misguided Bid’ah, but any innovation which is for the benefit of the Muslims and is not against the Shariah is acceptable.”
Other scholars have divided Bid’ah into five categories:
Considering this, we can now examine the allegation that the celebrations of the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) birthday are a blameworthy Bid’ah. One may ask ‘what is wrong with these celebrations?’
Is praising and telling of stories about the Prophet (peace be upon him) haram? Is thanksgiving for the coming of the Prophet (peace be upon him) undesirable? The answer is obvious. Milad celebrations are held to carry out the Quranic command “Fal yafrahoo” – “Therein rejoice.”
Imam Bukhari narrates a hadith about Abu Lahab, the Prophet’s (peace be upon him) uncle, who upon hearing the news of his nephew’s birth freed his maid Saubiya as a mark of joy and happiness.
However, Abu Lahab never believed in the Prophet (peace be upon him) and died a Kafir. A whole chapter was revealed to condemn his anti-Prophetic attitude.
In this hadith, Abu Lahab tells Abbas, “I receive a sip of water every Monday and my punishment is somewhat lightened.” So, we see that even a non-Muslim benefited from celebrating the coming of the Messenger (peace be upon him).
Will a Muslim then, and a follower of the Prophet (peace be upon him) not benefit from celebrating his birthday? We, therefore, suggest humbly to these brothers that they should stop their extremism and join the rest of the Ummah in thanking Allah for this great favour that He bestowed upon us.
Let us all on this blessed occasion prostrate before our Lord and sing His praise and hymns as a show of our joy and happiness. Let us hold gatherings and conferences where the Scholars explain the contributions and the impact of Muhammad’s (peace be upon him) teachings on humanity.
The birth of Mustafa (peace be upon him) undoubtedly heralded a new dawn for mankind and it marked the end of ignorance and the beginning of enlightenment.
Professor Muhammad Saeed Ramadan Butie of Damascus University rejected the opponents of Milad and said “every new thing is not Bid’ah. He says yes, to gather people to tell them of Milad is one of those things which began after the Prophet (peace be upon him).
But is it enough to say it is Bid’ah and whoever invented something which was not in our deen is an apostate?
And Allah knows best.
Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari
Director of British Fatwa Council